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Pearl Knotting Advice, Please

Hello all - I need some advice.

I am making a triple-strand necklace of violet-grey pearls and
amethysts and I can’t decide whether to knot between each pearl and

It’s long enough if I don’t, but I’m worried that it will end up too
long if I do.

How do I calculate how long it will be if I knot between beads?

Any rules of thumb about when to knot and when not to?


Depending on the pattern you are knotting, you could not every other
bead, or just at the amethysts or every five. It doesn’t look funny
as long as you keep a pattern.

Hi Linda – as a rule of thumb, all pearls should be knotted unless
they are so inexpensive that it doesn’t matter if they get lost or
scratched (but then why bother, eh?) Pearls (with a hardness of
about 3) have to be knotted to separate them from beads of any sort,
which are bound to be harder (amethyst is around 7) and which are
often not finished all that smoothly anyway. Rough bead edges will
not only scratch the pearls but will fray the thread, so you want
those knots! Added length depends on pearl and bead size, number of
knots, and thickness of thread (if the holes are big the knots will
be bigger) but as a rule of thumb, about one inch extra length per 15
or 16 inch unknotted strand is common. If you’re knotting a three
strand necklace, be sure that your ends are really secure, that your
silk is stretched overnight with a light weight, and that the clasp
is substantial enough. Try it on several times to make sure that the
weight is comfortable, and that the curves of your neck are
replicated so that it all hangs well. Advice from one who learned the
hard way: if it’s not right the first time, do it again, and
again… Elna B. in lovely California

Hi Linda, If your knots are small/tight enough, they shouldn’t really
add much length to the necklace. Two advantages of knotting are less
rubbing between pearls or stones, as well as not loosing everything if
the strand breaks.

JoAnna Kelleher, co-owner
Pearl Exotics Trading Company, LLC

Any rules of thumb about when to knot and when not to? 

That’s easy. Always Knot. When, not if, the strand breaks, you only
have to chase one bead, not the whole herd. And the piece looks
"Finished". The beads will lay better, the strand will last longer.
I can’t think of a single reason not to knot other than you don’t
want to spend the time to make a finished piece. While on the
subject, don’t use the crimp-on ends either. They don’t last, they
look cheap. Well you get the idea.

Keep on knotting.

Linda, When deciding where to put knots in a strand with multiple
types of beads, I usually only knot between the pearls, and not
between the accent beads. 0x0x0x08880x0x0x or 0x080x080x080x0 etc.
In fact, the placement of the knots actually becomes part of the
design. Usually, the knots add one to two inches, but the only way
to be sure is to acutally knot up an inch or two and measure the
difference, since different size beads and thicknesses of threads
will change the outcome, if you know what I mean. I always find
multistrands difficult to get exactly spaced. Seems like 1/2 to 3/4"
difference in length seems to make them lay correctly. I have to
have one of my kids try it on for sure. Ta Dina near annapolis